Jackson, Wyoming based Wyoming Wildlife Advocates will be hosting a protest against the trophy hunting of Wyoming’s wildlife on the town square January 12 from 11am – 1pm. This protest is part of a larger community of protests called the Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting (WRATH) orchestrated by Compassion Works International. This will be the 4th year of WRATH rallies across the country and the first for Wyoming. The main rally, in Reno, stands as a protest against the Safari Club International Conference and the 47th anniversary of the “Ultimate Sportsmen’s Market.” At the market, the lives of hundreds of beautiful animals are sold off to the highest bidder. The rally stands against the ego-driven and senseless murder of countless Wyoming wildlife by members of Safari Club International and other “trophy hunters.” This destruction of wildlife is not necessary nor sound science of wildlife management.
This will be a peaceful, educational demonstration focused on raising public awareness. We expect everyone in attendance to remain civil and obey public laws. Participants wishing to have help making posters can meet at our office (80 E. Pearl downstairs) at 9:00am Saturday morning. We will meet as a group at the Home Ranch Parking Lot at 10:45am and walk to the town square together. If you choose to make your own, please do not use violent or aggressive language.
With public outrage over the killing of Cecil the Lion in 2015 and now two famous related wolves, 06 and 926F (Spitfire) outside of Yellowstone National Park, citizens have shown they have no tolerance for killing wildlife just for the sake of sport. Conservation of these species does not rely on reducing their populations; it relies on stopping the killing and letting their populations self-regulate.
One of the goals of this protest is to raise awareness of the loss of Wyoming’s wolves to trophy hunting. Eighty wolves were reported killed in Wyoming in 2018, but with the culture of wolf-hatred in Wyoming, the actual number is likely higher. Wolves are listed as predators in over 85% of the state which means they can be killed by any means at any time. This includes running over them with snowmobiles, cars, or ATVs, dynamiting dens, spotlighting, shooting, beating to death – anything goes. There are no laws or regulations that prohibit the method by which you kill predators. This callous and inhumane treatment of our wildlife can no longer be allowed to continue in this state.
The protest also highlights wildlife killing contests, which are an extreme version of trophy hunting. Wyoming Wildlife Advocates is a member organization of the National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests and will continue to expose and speak out against these atrocities that happen on almost a weekly basis in the winter in Wyoming. Contests award participants’ money and prizes to kill the most, biggest, and smallest of a species. Animals such as coyotes, bobcats, wolves, prairie dogs, and foxes are targeted in these contests. Most animals are thrown away like trash at the end and wasted. “The waste of our wildlife is an egregious betrayal of the public trust doctrine in which all wildlife is trusted to the state to be managed for the common good. The vast majority of citizens of the United States do not wish to see wolves and bears wantonly killed. To allow the killing of bears and wolves which brings in millions of dollars to the state and benefits local economies is short-sighted and irrational,” says Kristin Combs, Program Director for Wyoming Wildlife Advocates. “The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the last places on Earth to see wolves and bears in their native habitats. To diminish the chance of someone seeing these magnificent creatures, so that one hunter can selfishly kill it, is beyond comprehension.”
In a recent article by Todd Wilkinson of Mountain Journal, he interviews Jim Posewitz, a member of the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame and author of the book Beyond Fair Chase, a hunter’s hunter by any definition. “Posewitz and others identify several legally-permitted hunting activities in America that, in their determination, grossly fail to pass the rule of fair chase and ethical standards laid out in the North American Model. From Wyoming’s controversial promotion of open season on wolves to predator derbies and wildlife killing contests held across the country targeting animals ranging from coyotes to rattlesnakes; from baiting black bears that enables hunters to literally shoot food-habituated bruins over a barrel, to captive “canned” hunts staged behind fences, to using domestic hounds to chase down certain game animals, those we interviewed say such activities are harming the public perception of hunting at a pivotal time when the public image of hunting matters more than ever.”
Wyoming Wildlife Advocates stands against all of the above-mentioned practices and does not consider them valid wildlife management policies or processes. WWA fully supports sustenance hunting to feed yourself and your family. Elk and deer meat is wholesome, lean, antibiotic and chemical free, and has a small carbon footprint. Ethical hunters, of which there are many, are encouraged to stand up and speak out against the unethical hunting practices that are currently allowed in Wyoming, including the senseless slaughter of wolves. When unethical hunters are called out by their own community and their actions ostracized, all hunters will begin to see citizens viewing them in a much more favorable light.